Casting bronze sculptures. Learning how networking can help in a job search, and how to answer interviewers’ questions. Participating in a workshop on X-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. For Ph.D. and master’s students at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), these are just a few of the activities on tap for January.
For the third straight year, graduate students will be able to take part in January @ GSAS, a series of more than 80 workshops, seminars, and classes on topics ranging from how to write fellowship proposals, to using online citation tools when conducting research, to social events like film screenings and tours of Harvard museums.
Running throughout the month, the classes will provide an opportunity for graduate students to catch up on professional development that they may not have had time for during the fall term, as well as a way to enrich their Harvard experience by exploring topics outside their normal areas of study.
“Graduate students, for the most part, remain on campus throughout winter break,” said Garth McCavana, dean for student affairs in GSAS. “Especially if they’re in the sciences, they’re in the lab doing work or conducting their research. Several years ago, when the January session was created, we thought this would be a good time for our students to focus on professional development, so we developed a series of seminars — some with intellectual content, some with practical content, and some that are just purely for fun.”
For students interested in professional development, GSAS has partnered with the Office of Career Services to offer programs, including sessions on making the transition to a non-academic career, expanding a professional network by using online social media tools, and surviving the academic job search — with advice from former students who have lived through these situations.
Students also can build their research skills, with sessions that range from using online citation tools like EndNote and RefWorks, to using computers to model and analyze large data sets, to crafting qualitative research.
Fun activities include the bronze sculpture workshop, film screenings, a nighttime session held at the Harvard College Observatory, and a ski trip to Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine.
Undergraduates and faculty members also can take part in the events.
First offered two years ago, a session titled “The Impostor Syndrome: How to Feel as Smart and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are,” attracted more than 400 attendees.
“We want students to use these sessions as an opportunity to see the array of options that are available to them,” McCavana said. “These sessions are an opportunity for students to come up for air, even if for just a few hours, and consider a topic they may not have thought about before.”